August 12, 2019
I walked around the garden looking for a place to plant a row of beets and found the last fourth of the last planting of beets hidden under the asparagus ferns. They had stopped growing and were crisp and healthy in the shade, instead of huge and tough. I guess shading beets is a good way to put them on hold. It might also work with carrots. I used corn stalks to shade a row one year by leaning them up against the fence.
Lettuce could use some afternoon shade this time of year as well as the cabbage that's forming heads. I've got shade cloth on a row of cauliflower and it looks like they are progressing. We've gotten two heads so far with leaves growing up between the crown segments. I think that is a result of trying to grow them in too warm a time of year.
August 13, 2019
As each melon mound gets done I turn it under. I use my four pronged garden fork to keep from slicing through the earthworms and night crawlers. I put a half wheelbarrow full of decomposed stall cleanings on it, and flip it again. The blacker and finer the cleanings are, the closer it comes to being compost, and the more willing I am to incorporate it into the soil. No till gardening is my preferred method of gardening because I have so much stall cleanings, but I want my mounds to be like potting soil.
Mulching does not make my soil as fluffy, but it makes the plants grow well. It makes the soil less compacted because the worms and night crawlers travel up and down in their process of decomposing the mulch. Organic matter flows down their tunnels when you water and lightens your soil's texture.
August 14, 2019
The Hollyhocks are such show off's this time of year. Flowers are rampant from ground level on the short stalks to over seven feet off the ground on the tall stalks. Red, dark pink, light pink, medium pink and white. I didn't have to remove many from shading any veggies so they are an abundant feature that makes me feel like a very successful gardener. I didn't do anything and these multiple clumps of color are "just too busy being fabulous".
Some of their leaves turn golden yellow which contributes to their colorful diplay. The slightest breeze makes them sway, and the bumblebees and honeybees are in constant motion around them. Gray dead stalks are still pointing to the sky from last summers crop because I don't remove them in the fall. They are the preferred perch of the dragonflies and bring me joy all winter long.
February 25, 2020
Researchers at the University of Texas have discovered a bacteria that can help honeybees fight colony collapse disorder. They can easily be inoculated with it and it resides in their microbiome. Sounds like a good idea to me, but reminds me of how we genetically modified corn to be able to survive glyphosate. We then began to discover the broad effects of the herbicide outside of the corn patch.
I'm not saying that three legged frogs would not have a higher market value than two legged ones, but five legged lambs would too. We've got to draw the line somewhere. When you concoct a potion to kill weeds, and it changes the DNA of reptiles, your whichcraft has gone Machivillion.